updated 12/19/2005 2:17:17 PM ET 2005-12-19T19:17:17

Guests: Jack Rice, J.T. “The Brick,” Lydia Weiss, Xavier Von Erck, Andy Kahan, Amy Sullivan, Bree Smith, George Smith III, Maureen Smith, Jack Hickey, Catherine Crier, Jennifer Hagel Smith

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the cruise line attacks the widow.  After our exclusive interview with Jennifer Hagel Smith, wife of missing honeymooner George Smith IV, Royal Caribbean fires back.  And you‘re going to hear their version of events and more from the widow‘s own account  And we will ask, why is Royal Caribbean attacking this woman?

Plus, the Iraqi elections, an amazing success.  Nearly 70 percent of the country comes out to vote, but the media still refuses to give credit.  Is it another example of media bias?

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks so much for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Now, in a minute, we are going to have the cruise line‘s response to the George Smith case.  And it is a stunner.  And also, tonight, do you remember “Dateline NBC‘s” undercover investigation that targeted online sexual predators?  Well, did the men on tape ever get brought to justice? 

As you know, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has been pushing for that for some time now.  And, tonight, we are going to show you the mixed result. 

And the professional football players‘ sex party that made headlines, well, it‘s now landed several players on a very hot football team in trouble with the law.  But does a slap on the wrist really fit the crime?

But, first, Royal Caribbean is on the attack.  The cruise line has issued this scathing statement, disputing many claims that Jennifer made in my interview with her.

First, we want to show you more of that interview and let you hear just how badly Jennifer says she was treated by Royal Caribbean right after she found out that her husband vanished from their honeymoon cruise. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)  

JENNIFER HAGEL SMITH, WIFE OF GEORGE SMITH:  I was taken to a cabin somewhere in one of the lower decks. 

And I was told to take a shower.  And I was then given Royal Caribbean T-shirt, Royal Caribbean gym shorts, and Royal Caribbean tank top, because they said, we cannot, you know, obviously give you any of your own clothing, which was all in our room. 

I just felt humiliated.  And I just felt disgusting, that I don‘t want to be wearing anything.  I don‘t even want to see Royal Caribbean logo anywhere again for the rest of my life, never mind be wearing it. 

It was just—you just feel defeated, utterly defeated.  It‘s just adding insult to injury.  At that point, I‘m in this room.  I remember asking, can I call George‘s parents?  I remember saying—being told, you better wait; you better not, and thinking, wait for what, exactly?  What am I waiting for? 

Can I call my own parents?  No, maybe that‘s not a good idea.  OK.  Can I call—you know, it was like I didn‘t understand why I couldn‘t contact home.  I didn‘t understand why I was left alone, why did I have to shoulder this all alone at that time. 

I was eventually brought to a different meeting area again from Royal Caribbean.  At this point now, here comes back the ship‘s officers, the security officers and the ship‘s captain now.  And I have now the honeymoon couple that George and I used to hang around with.  They were also around or at my side. 

And they just basically said, you know, they want you to get off the ship in Turkey.  They want you, you know, to come for some questions.  I didn‘t realize at that time that I was a part of or even a focal point of an investigation or an interrogation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They were kicking you off the ship, right? 

(CROSSTALK)

HAGEL SMITH:  Yes. 

I was taken, you know, away from the ship.  So, now I am in town.  I am the only one there of all the other passengers.  I am the only one who is in Turkey, in a Turkish police station.  And there I am with all of my, you know, Royal Caribbean logo attire, and just feeling—just falling deeper into just this feeling of shock. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you‘re in Turkey.  Obviously, you don‘t speak the language.  Did they give you money? 

HAGEL SMITH:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Did they give you transportation? 

HAGEL SMITH:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Did they gave you any guidance at all? 

HAGEL SMITH:  No.  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  They just threw you in the middle—a young woman, in the middle of Turkey?

HAGEL SMITH:  It was getting later in the evening. 

I was aware that the ship was going to sail around 7:00, give or take.  As I kept watching the clock in the Turkish police station, there came a point when, you know, I said, hey, I don‘t think they are really going to be holding this ship for me.  So, I just—this day just kept going on and on.  And then, finally, when I was taken back to the dock, where the cruise ship was, I had—it was getting time for the ship to sail. 

One minute, I am sitting there, thinking, what now?  No one is making any airport plans for me, that—the Royal Caribbean cruise line certainly wasn‘t.  Then I see my bags.  I see George‘s suitcases.  I see my suitcases.  And I see 10 Royal Caribbean logoed plastic souvenir bags on the dock, and I just froze. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you heard how Jennifer described that hellacious ordeal. 

But now let‘s listen to what Royal Caribbean said.  They just issued this statement.  And I will tell you, again, I would love to have these guys come on the show.  I understand they say they are cooperating with the FBI in this investigation.  And there are limitations.

But there is no reason why—the CEO of Royal Caribbean could come on the show.  I mean, all he has to do is ask other people to come on the show.  You come on the show.  I am going to be fair to you.  I am going to let you get your story out.  I‘m going to let you tell the American people your side of the story.  And it ain‘t about me.  It‘s about you and it‘s about Jennifer.

And all Americans have a right to know whether or not you abuse people that go on your cruise lines or not.  And until you clear that up, a lot of Americans are going to be afraid to go on Royal Caribbean, because Jennifer is talking.  She‘s been through a hell of a lot more than you have been through, hasn‘t she?  But she‘s coming out and she‘s talking. 

I want the CEO of Royal Caribbean come on our show, talk to the American people, and let them know, let me know, if I want to send my parents or other family members on Royal Caribbean cruise line, that it‘s safe.  But if you don‘t come out and talk, how do we know that?  And we just have to assume—you are saying that Jennifer is a liar.

But I think a lot of Americans would like you to come on the air and say that to them, so they can look you in the eye and figure out whether they trust you or not. 

But this is what Royal Caribbean—this is a statement, again, that we go faxed to us today.  And they say this—quote—“We realize members of the family remain deep in shock and pain.  And their recollection of events may not reflect what actually happened.”

Then they go on to say: “Jennifer was never left alone in Turkey.”  They claim a guest relations manager was with her every moment, except when she was questioned by a Turkish judge.  That‘s certainly different from what we have heard up until now.

They also claim they didn‘t ditch Jennifer in Turkey.  They say she was given the choice of sailing on a ship, but she chose to stay behind instead. 

Finally, Royal Caribbean says booking Jennifer a flight home and taking care of her belongings simply wasn‘t their responsibility.  It was yours.  That‘s right.  They say it was the responsibility of the U.S.  government to get her home, after she had paid for this ticket, got all the way over there, and, again, then dumped in Turkey. 

Well, today, we got another statement.  This time, it‘s from Jennifer Hagel Smith‘s attorney.  And he fired back, calling the cruise line comment false. 

He says this—quote—“The bottom line is that Royal Caribbean lied to Jennifer, lied to Jennifer‘s father, destroyed much of the potential crime scene, and did not assist Jennifer in returning home.”

With me now to talk about the latest development in this tragic case is Court TV‘s Catherine Crier and also maritime attorney Jack Hickey.

Catherine, let me start with you.

You have been around the courtroom a long time.  It‘s important to remember that the cruise industry issued a statement early on, while this grieving widow was at home, basically, hiding under covers, and said that she may have been responsible for the death of her husband, that they couldn‘t stop people from hurting themselves or their spouses. 

Now they come out.  They call her a liar. 

This seems like—man, it seems like high-stakes legal strategy.  How dangerous is it for the cruise line to attack her? 

CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV:  Well, I think it‘s pretty dangerous. 

And we are going to find out eventually.  You have got congressional hearings.  They are saying things like the U.S. Consulate was there.  The FBI was there. 

We will find out what transpired over time.  But I think for a corporation with the kind of interest this company has, that, from a public relations standpoint, they have really messed this up royally.  I think they have also really messed up a criminal investigation and opened the door to the fact that apparently this is not an uncommon practice.  And I think that is going to get them in a lot of trouble. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I talked to Christopher Shays again today up on Capitol Hill.  He told me that there are so many other stories.  People have come forward.

Again, the young woman that died on a cruise liner several years ago, her parents didn‘t know for two weeks that she had died. 

CRIER:  Yes.  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They just shipped her clothes back to Miami.  And they never found out about it until, again, two, three weeks later. 

Is this one of those cases, is this one of those congressional investigations, one of those stories that once you pull the lid off the top of it, it‘s going to really harm this industry? 

CRIER:  Well, I actually think so. 

There are a lot of people—and Mr. Hickey is one of those—I had counsel for Jennifer‘s family on the other night.  He had been a maritime lawyer for 30-plus years.  And they keep working away at this, but there hasn‘t been this kind of national exposure. 

And when you start recognizing the number of people—and Congressman Shays said this the other night.  He said, they talk, well, we have 20 million out there and only 13 go missing every year.  Well, per ship, you realize that it‘s a much smaller community.  It might be 100,000 people, it might be 10,000 people that you are talking about. 

And, all of a sudden, a community is disrupted by losing 10 people, and you realize it‘s got a greater impact.

I think they are going to be really sorry, because major security overhauls are necessary.  I think the flagging issues, where they sort of skip out on jurisdiction by sailing under a foreign flag and yet using our country, our people, our ports, I think a lot of shakeup is necessary.  And Congress might get something done.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Hickey, a lot of rape lawyers, rape defense lawyers, will use the sluts or nuts defense, that the woman is either loose or else she‘s crazy. 

Certainly, the Clinton White House used that from ‘92 to 2000.  Is that what is happening right now with Royal Caribbean, that they‘re saying that this lady is crazy, that she may have been responsible for her husband‘s death in the earlier statement, and now they are coming out and saying what they‘re saying now, that she is a liar?  Is it—do you attack the victim?  Is that what you do, if you are a cruise line lawyer? 

JACK HICKEY, MARITIME ATTORNEY:  Yes, it is, absolutely. 

We see this in Miami when we are fighting the cruise lines.  We see this all the time.  And, Joe, you put your finger right on it.  They are smearing—they‘re trying to smear the Hagels and George Smith.  And obviously they are not going to be successful. 

This statement of theirs, which I have a copy of here, that was sent to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is going to come back to haunt this cruise line.  And I have spoken to Jennifer Hagel‘s attorney.  And I know about their statement, their counterstatement.  And I know specifically that they are going to be able to prove, as they have before with this cruise line‘s statements, that these things are not true. 

They say that they put Jennifer in the hands of this FBI agent.  Well, there was an FBI agent and his wife over there in Turkey when Jennifer was basically abandoned over there that just happened to be there on vacation. 

And thank goodness he lends her his telephone to make a bunch of calls, and she did, and she took him up on that.  Thank goodness.  That has nothing to do with this cruise line.  This cruise line is going to be so sorry it issued this statement. 

But, Joe, what do you want from a cruise line that in 1998 pled guilty in federal court in Miami to federal convictions not only for polluting our waters, but for lying about it?  And I have talked about this before on your show.

SCARBOROUGH:  Right. 

HICKEY:  And how they have supposedly—the EPA head of enforcement said maybe this is where Royal Caribbean will engage in some soul-searching.  That was seven years ago.  They haven‘t found a soul yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Haven‘t yet.

Jack, thank you so much.

Catherine Crier, stay with us.  I have got another question for you when we come back.

Also, when we come up, come back, the Iraq election, big turnout, little violence, but instead everybody is talking about a negative story that was released this morning that has been held for a year.  Is it a coincidence that it was released the day after great news out of Baghdad?  Well, you decide whether the mainstream media tells Americans good news about our troops or not.

And “Dateline”‘s undercover investigation into the world of online sex

kids—remember all those men who came to a house looking for sex with children?  Well, tonight, we are going to find out what happened to people like the infamous naked guy, where they are, and whether our push to bring justice in this case is being heard or not.

It‘s a big night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Stay with us.  We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  George Smith, a victim of a terrible crime, the question now is, is his wife, now widow, in the crosshairs of a smear campaign? 

We will talk about that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

+

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

Let me bring back in Court TV‘s Catherine Crier, Judge Catherine Crier.

By the way, Catherine, or Judge, do they still call you Judge at cocktail parties when you go back to Texas? 

CRIER:  Smart ones do. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

I want to ask you about this.  As you know, this cruise line turned over 97 tapes to the FBI about what went on, on the ship that night.  You have got basically three suspects.  You have got from—the two Russians that we hear about, and this California kid. 

CRIER:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And very confined area.  Do you think—first of all, are you surprised that the investigation has taken this long?  Secondly, are you fairly confident that they are going to crack this case?

CRIER:  Well, I‘m semi-optimistic. 

I don‘t know what the FBI knows.  I don‘t know what sort of interview with the three people that you described.  We do know there were lots of tapes.  We know that one of the employees of the ship said he rode up in the elevator.  These guys got out with George.  We have got the guy in the room next store, who said he came out and saw the two Russian guys.

We have got a pretty tight time frame.  What we don‘t know is what kind of forensics are in the room, whether they got the clothes from these people immediately, those sorts of things.  The FBI has been pretty tight-lipped.  And we certainly haven‘t been hearing from Turkish authorities. 

So, I don‘t know what kind of evidence they have got.  And am I surprised these guys are still quiet and walking around?  Maybe a little bit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

OK, thanks a lot, Judge.

CRIER:  OK.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Greatly appreciate you being with us. 

CRIER:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me just clarify, friends.

I want to clarify this, because, obviously, these three guys, the two Russians and California guy, have not been named suspects in this case.  They certainly are persons of interest.  All of our sources in the investigation say that they were the ones that—who had the biggest focus.  But just want to be fair to everybody out there.  Certainly, they have not been named official suspects yet. 

Now, last week, I had an exclusive interview with the parents and the sister of George Smith.  They told me about George, the love for his new bride, Jennifer, and the wedding.  It was so moving.  Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAUREEN SMITH, MOTHER OF GEORGE SMITH IV:  Total...

BREE SMITH, SISTER OF GEORGE SMITH IV:  Very much in love. 

M. SMITH:  Total loyalty. 

B. SMITH:  Beautiful wedding, the most beautiful wedding you would ever imagine in Newport. 

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  Oh, absolutely beautiful.

(CROSSTALK)

B. SMITH:  So, yes, they were very happy.

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  And he adored her.  He worshipped her. 

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  They were very, very committed to each other. 

GEORGE SMITH III, FATHER OF GEORGE SMITH IV:  He said they were soul mates. 

M. SMITH:  And all of their friends said the same thing.  They say the same thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  And she was—she is also a Greenwich...

G. SMITH:  She‘s from Cromwell.

M. SMITH:  No.  She‘s she‘s originally from Cromwell and she is a teacher. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Cromwell.

M. SMITH:  She‘s just got a teaching...

(CROSSTALK)

B. SMITH:  She lived in Greenwich with George.  So, she had moved from Cromwell to Greenwich.

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  Right.  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, talk about—if you can, talk about the wedding. 

(CROSSTALK)

G. SMITH:  Oh.  It was so beautiful. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Because that‘s really your last really glimpse of George.  And, again, the contrast between this tragedy and that event had, which just had to be the happiest of times. 

B. SMITH:  You actually have a photograph, Joe, of my brother waving goodbye to us, which was the last time we saw him, the day after the wedding. 

The wedding was gorgeous.  It was nicer than you would see in the bridal magazines, the most beautiful couple you can imagine, just, everything done to perfection.  And it really was a gorgeous wedding. 

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  All my family came over from England.  And he just—he shined with everybody, the children.

We have photos of him bending down with the children.  And he just was so happy with everybody, wasn‘t he?

G. SMITH:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  It was just—and then he came to see us the next morning in Newport.  And we have a photo of him waving goodbye to us.  And he just wanted to get off.  He just wanted to go get on the plane, just so excited.

B. SMITH:  He was so excited about going to Europe. 

M. SMITH:  Getting on that cruise ship, planned it night after night, the cruise, as you know, the excursions they were going to do.  It was just his honeymoon that he was going to have.  And it was—and this is what has happened. 

And people just don‘t believe it.  People cannot believe this has happened. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And how did you find out something had gone terribly wrong?

B. SMITH:  Jennifer‘s father called us about 6:30 in the morning July 5 and said that something terrible had happened to George.  And so that‘s where we learned of the news.  But our initial reaction was, oh, maybe he fell asleep someplace. 

(CROSSTALK)

M. SMITH:  He is a party animal.  He likes to party, George does.

(CROSSTALK)

B. SMITH:  Yes.  He was having the time of his life.  He must have fallen asleep somewhere.

(CROSSTALK)

B. SMITH:  And I said to Royal Caribbean, I said—he hadn‘t been missing for 24 hours at this point.  And I said, have you done a search?  And they said, yes, we did a search.

I said, will you be doing another search?  And they said, no, we have done one search and we are finished with our search.

G. SMITH:  Absolutely not.

B. SMITH:  And this was before we had heard about the blood on the overhang.  And they refused to do any further searches for George, even though he had only been missing not even 24 hours. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, we are going to be staying on this story, and we will get answers. 

And, again, I am inviting the CEO of Royal Caribbean, come on the show.  Tell the American people your side of the story. 

Now, 11 million Iraqis went to the polls yesterday to elect a new parliament.  There was almost no violence.  Sunnis voted in huge numbers, as did Kurds and Shia.  And the Iraqis today are celebrating a historic step in the march toward democracy. 

So, isn‘t it strange that “The New York Times” and “Washington Post” chose to run front-page stories about the Bush administration spying on Americans?  Now, this is a story this paper had for over a year, but it didn‘t run it until the day after these historic elections. 

Was it bias?

Well, here to talk about it, we have got MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, who opposed the march to war in Iraq, and Amy Sullivan, author—editor of “The Washington Monthly.” 

Pat Buchanan, you opposed what George Bush did, going to war.  You still oppose this mission.  But come on.  Even you can admit that they were just waiting to plant this story the day after they knew George Bush was finally going to get some great news on Iraq. 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Joe, it sure looks like they dropped it on the president the morning of what was a great day before. 

It has totally trumped the president‘s good news.  It is going to trump all the good news the president got this week, I think in the shows on the weekend, which I think they have every intent to do.  It sank the Patriot Act in the Congress today in the Senate.  And I think in the—and I think it—you also hear that one of the reporters who did this has a book coming out on this whole issue. 

And if all this news went national, it is the best advertising campaign for his book, if that story is true, and that‘s what I‘m hearing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  That I have seen.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, let me ask you, are you starting to think you may have been wrong about the war or at least can you give George Bush credit? 

You have a much higher turnout of Iraqis, who knew they could be killed if they voted, than Americans who voted in the last election.  You have got 71 percent of Iraqis telling ABC News last week that things are getting better in Iraq, a much better right track/wrong track in Iraq than in America. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, listen, I still believe that the war and the invasion were a terrible mistake for the United States.  We don‘t need to get into that.

But, since then, and given where we are, as the president says, whether you are for or against this war, I do believe with those military men who say, give us a chance; we can win this; we can do it; there is more good news than you know; don‘t take us out of the game when we think we can win this thing.

I think we have got to defer to the president and defer to them and give them time to see if it‘s working out or if it‘s not.  And we will know that by the middle of next year.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The troops on the ground.

Amy Sullivan, was yesterday a historic day for Iraq? 

AMY SULLIVAN, EDITOR, “THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY”:  Well, absolutely it was.

But, Joe, I have got to give you credit for trotting out this bias argument as often as you can.  This time, I just don‘t think it holds water at all.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait a second.  How do I trot out a bias argument? 

SULLIVAN:  Oh, come on.

If you saw the same “New York Times” this morning that I did, there was a huge headline going across two-thirds of the top, above the fold, with a positive headline, saying Iraqis voted in record numbers.  It was peaceful.  There was no violence.  There were two very positive stories on the front page.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What about “The Washington Post”? 

SULLIVAN:  “The Washington Post” also had good coverage of the Iraqi election.  It‘s not like anybody is ignoring it.

And they are also under absolutely no requirement to hold off on any negative news about President Bush just because something good is happening.

SCARBOROUGH:  They held off a year, though, Amy.  They held off a year, and waited.

(CROSSTALK)

SULLIVAN:  Joe, that‘s really interesting. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know how smart these people are.

SULLIVAN:  They were holding off at the request of the White House. 

They were not publishing something because the administration asked them not to. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Amy, you have no credibility if you are sitting here telling me tonight that “The New York Times” and “Washington Post” just happened to drop this explosive bombshell the day after the historic elections. 

(CROSSTALK)

SULLIVAN:  Joe, it also happens to be the day that the Patriot Act is being debated in the Senate.  There is some sort of relevant timing here.  It‘s not just completely out of the blue.

BUCHANAN:  Exactly. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Look, they sank the Patriot Act. 

I do—look, anybody who believes that “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” don‘t program these stories at the right time, knowing they are going to have an impact on this decision in Congress or that vote, that‘s preposterous.

SULLIVAN:  Well, come on.  This is information people need to have. 

This is an incredibly important debate going on. 

(CROSSTALK)

SULLIVAN:  And it‘s not just Democrats and liberals who are opposed here.

BUCHANAN:  I know that.

But it is also a fact that the CIA and other folks are using a maximum dump on the administration at this point.  They know the effect of these things.  All we are saying, Amy, is, look, don‘t tell me—as they used to say in the Soviet Union, this is no accident, comrade.  This was dropped with a purpose.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK. 

Amy—hold on.

Amy, let me ask you a question. 

SULLIVAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because you accused me of trotting out a media bias argument.

I have been in the media now for three years.  I have got to say, of all—and I have got a lot of friends in the media.  And I don‘t question people‘s integrity.  But I can tell you that there seems to be a real anti-war slant to the overwhelming majority of people that work at “The New York Times,” that work at “The Washington Post,” that work at the broadcast networks.

Do you think—can you at least admit that that‘s the truth? 

SULLIVAN:  Well, Joe, I will tell you, there has been negative news in the papers and on TV about Iraq.  And one reason that is, is because there has been some bad stuff happening in Iraq. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s not the question I asked you. 

SULLIVAN:  You know what?  I have been e-mailing actually with a sergeant in Fallujah, who found me after going on your show.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on Amy.  That‘s not the question.  Amy, that‘s not the question I asked you.  Do you think the press is anti-war?

SULLIVAN:  I don‘t think it really matters whether they are anti-war. 

I think they are reporting...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

SULLIVAN:  ... what‘s happening on the ground.  And there have been some—a rise in insurgent attacks. 

(CROSSTALK)

SULLIVAN:  And so, they‘re going to report that.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  They are yelling at me.  I got to go. 

Pat, Amy...

BUCHANAN:  They do a lot more than reporting, Joe.  . 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much. 

They do a hell of a lot more than reporting.  And, yes, they are anti-war. 

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A “Dateline” investigation blew the lid off of sexual predators in Virginia and Maryland.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has been demanding justice.  And we haven‘t been pleased with the results, but maybe some movement.  We will give you the very latest in a minute. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to the show.

Time for a little self-editing here.  I—easier to do it here than in a blog later on. 

First of all, I feel bad.  I should just have brought Amy on by herself in that last segment.  Pat and I are both on the same side, and she really didn‘t get a chance to say as much as she wanted to say. 

But she brought up another point.  Show—if you can, show “The New York Times”‘ front page.  Now, listen, so much has to do with appearance on the front page.  She brought up a great point, that “The New York Times” did a better job than “The Washington Post” and other papers of putting this huge, historic story in proper perspective. 

I still am very suspicious about the timing of this article that they dropped after a year. 

But I just want to give Amy credit on that point.  I think she made a great point there.  And we appreciate her coming on.  And we promise her, the next time she comes on, she is not going to be teamed up by two loudmouths like Buchanan and myself. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you remember, last month, when “Dateline NBC” aired an explosive investigation into the world of online sexual predators using decoys posing as teenagers, a rented house and hidden cameras? 

“Dateline” confronted men expecting to meet children for sex.  Well, tonight, we want to show you where those alleged predators are now. 

Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HANSEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  During our investigation, 19 men showed up at our house in three days after making a date online with a person posing as a young beer. 

DEL HARVEY, PERVERTED JUSTICE:  Did you bring beer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I thought we‘d stop and get some on the way.

HANSEN:  Once they saw me, some headed for the door.

(on camera):  How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi.

HANSEN:  (INAUDIBLE)    

(voice-over):  Others stayed, apparently believing I was the child‘s father or with law enforcement.  None of them knew our hidden cameras were recording their every move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How‘s it going?

(CROSSTALK)

HANSEN (on camera):  Good.  How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How are you doing?

HANSEN:  Why don‘t you have a seat...

(voice-over):  This man, an Army sergeant, tried to entice our decoy, who he thought was a 14-year-old girl, into having sex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ve never done anything and I‘m trying to get help with it.

HANSEN (on camera):  What are you doing to get help?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m seeing a psychiatrist right now.

HANSEN:  Well, it doesn‘t look like it‘s working too well based upon all this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just started talking to him.

HANSEN (voice-over):  And perhaps more shocking than the number of men is who they are.  This 54-year-old man is a special education teacher.

(on camera):  What is a 54-year-old man doing coming to this home to see a 13-year-old boy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I obviously made a big mistake.

HANSEN (voice-over):  And he wasn‘t the only one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Come on in.  I just spilled diet coke all over my shorts.

HANSEN:  This 50-year-old is an emergency room doctor here to meet a boy he thinks is 14.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll be right back down.

HANSEN:  Watch how he tries to follow our decoy upstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I can come up if you want.

HANSEN:  When I confronted the doctor, he said he had no intention of having sex with the boy.  He only came here because he felt badly for the teen who was left home alone.

HANSEN (on camera):  What‘s really going on here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What‘s really going on was I came over to take him out for lunch.

HANSEN:  You asked have you ever been spanked?  He says by my dad but not for sex.  You say could it be fun for sex?  He says I can try.  You say why don‘t you spank a dad.  Now you see how that looks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  It looks pretty bad.

HANSEN (voice-over):  The doctor like most of the men who showed up at our house maintained he was not doing anything wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I got to ask are you still going to be up for tonight...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘ll see.

HANSEN:  And then there was this man.

(LAUGHTER)

HANSEN (on camera):  So how can I help you?  What are you doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not something good.  This isn‘t good.

HANSEN:  Not good?  I think that‘s kind of an understatement, isn‘t it?  What do you do for a living?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m a rabbi.

HANSEN (voice-over):  That‘s right, a rabbi.  We even had a man strip naked in our garage after our decoy asked him to.

(on camera):  Could you explain yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m sorry.

HANSEN (voice-over):  This 43-year-old showed up with a 12-pack of beer thinking he was going to meet a 14-year-old boy.

(on camera):  What would have happened, John, if I wasn‘t here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I probably would have chickened out, sir.

HANSEN (voice-over):  He got his chance to tell his story to police just last week when he was taken in for questioning.  Detectives confiscated a computer and other items from his home.  He‘s not been charged with a crime.  And since our first story aired, the prosecutor in Fairfax County, Virginia tells “Dateline” he expects to bring three or four cases, men caught in our investigation, to the grand jury before the end of the year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Come on, guy.

HANSEN:  As for the rabbi, because he lives in Montgomery County, Maryland, his case has been turned over to police there.  And we are told he‘s currently under investigation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here to talk about that incredible “Dateline” investigation and what‘s being done to put these guys behind bars is Andy Kahan.  He‘s from the Houston Crime Victims Office—and also Xavier Von Erck.  He‘s the director of operations for Perverted Justice.

Xavier, let me start with you. 

We have been riding Fairfax County from the very beginning, after “Dateline” did their incredible work.  We have got their spokesperson on.  They have basically said, you know what?  There is nothing we can do about it. 

So, you have got these walking time bombs going on all over Fairfax County.  And the chances are good kids they are going to go off and kids are going to be hurt.

But you actually think that our pushing may be making a difference. 

Talk about it.

XAVIER VON ERCK, DIRECTOR, PERVERTED JUSTICE:  Yes. 

I know our pushing and your pushing has made a difference in this case, because, as you said yourself, the public information officer said that they had no jurisdiction.  But now these individuals are being charged.  Next Monday, three of the four individuals will be charged.  One of them fled back to Egypt.  So, not only has our pushing made a difference.  It has resulted in some arrests and some charges. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about what you did with this rabbi?  Is this rabbi going to jail? 

VON ERCK:  He is currently under investigation.  All signs point to yes, but, at this point, we can‘t say for sure.  But, from what we know, it looks like he‘s going to be. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Where is he?  Who will prosecute this guy? 

VON ERCK:  He lives in Montgomery County, Maryland.  And that‘s currently where he is under investigation by the Montgomery County Police. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You feel like they are going to take this guy off the streets and throw him in jail?  And, if not, what can we do to push Montgomery County‘s prosecutors to get him locked away, or at least get him tried?

VON ERCK:  At this point, I feel they are going to.  But you never know.  So, it‘s important that the people in Montgomery County know that, in the next few weeks, if they don‘t hear something about this in their local papers, start asking some tough questions. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

And, of course, Xavier, you are guys are doing an incredible job.  Let us know if they are dragging their feet.  We will pull you back on here and we will start pushing hard. 

I am just—I am sending a message right out to Montgomery County‘s prosecutor.  We‘re watching you.  I don‘t know who you are.  I‘m sure you are a faithful and diligent public servant.  But I‘m just telling you, this guy needs to be off the streets.  What “Dateline” caught him in, absolutely sick and perverted. 

Andy, let me go to you. 

It seems to me that you have got all these time bombs ready to go off.  Are we being too simplistic or should the prosecutors move fairly quickly, seize their computers, like they did with the naked guy, and start trying to move forward on charges?

ANDY KAHAN, HOUSTON CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:  You know, Joe, the reality is that, if you guys hadn‘t of bird-dogged any of these district attorneys, probably none of these cases would be moving forward.  And that to me raises enormous red flags, because law enforcement....

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is that, Andy?  Why wouldn‘t they move on these guys but for us? 

KAHAN:  That‘s the million-dollar question, because, constantly, day in and day out, law enforcement always asks for citizens to be their eyes and ears to report criminal activity.

And here is this group, this great organization, Predator, that gift wrapped it for them, said, here they are.  Get these guys off the street.  These guys are professional pedophiles who have molested God knows how many children.  And they‘re still moving at a snail‘s pace.

I think it‘s—again, we have to change our mind-set and realize, we are in a national public safety health crisis when it‘s concerning sex offenders, the fact that one out of every three young women will be sexually molested and one out of every five young boys will be sexually molested in our lifetime, and all we see is probated sentences, if we are lucky.

SCARBOROUGH:  They have got to get tough. 

And, Andy, I‘ll tell you what.  It is a national epidemic.  But you are on the forefront of fighting it. 

And, Xavier, we can‘t thank you enough for what you‘re doing.

Gentlemen, we are going to be getting back to this.  We are going to following up on the prosecutors, make sure all these people go to jail or at least have their day in court. 

Thanks so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it.

VON ERCK:  You bet.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, if you missed “Dateline” tonight, you can see it again here on MSNBC tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern.  You need to see this.  If you are a parent, put it down.  TiVo it.  It‘s so important for you to see what‘s going on out there in these neighborhoods.  And then you can join our fight to get all of these guys behind bars.

Coming up next, a new outrage in Washington with your tax dollars.  We are going to have the story of the senator and his bridge to nowhere, and, also, his efforts to hurt our troops?

Hey, you‘re going to meet “Joe‘s Schmoe” coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Joe‘s Schmoe.” 

Well, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is at it again.  Stevens has persuaded congressional leaders to attach a plan to open oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to a must-pass bill to fund our troops.  Is Senator Stevens putting American troops at risk?

With us now is Lydia Weiss from Defenders of Wildlife. 

Lydia, let‘s strip this thing down.  It looks like the senator is holding up funding for our troops in Iraq until he gets his way on oil drilling in Alaska.  Is that a fair way to put it? 

LYDIA WEISS, DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE:  It‘s a fair way to put it. 

This—the defense appropriations bill was not in jeopardy as recently as 24 hours ago.  But Senator Stevens‘ attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife to—wreckage to drilling were. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what he is doing, he is attaching something that has absolutely nothing to do with supporting our troops in Iraq, right?

WEISS:  It‘s outrageous.  That‘s exactly what he is doing.  And it‘s outrageous.  It‘s unacceptable.  He is putting oil executives before our troops by doing this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the thing is, Lydia, on a case like this, before 9/11, I was opposed to drilling in Alaska. 

Now I‘m for drilling in Alaska.  Are you finding up on Capitol Hill that it really doesn‘t matter where people stand on drilling in Alaska, that they are angry about what‘s going on in Washington, D.C., again, where, basically, our troops are being used as a shield for Senator Stevens and his friends in the oil industry? 

WEISS:  Yes. 

We are finding—there is broad support for protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge across America and in Congress.  But we are finding that even members of Congress who are OK with opening the refuge to oil drilling are appalled by Senator Stevens‘ last-ditch attempts to do this. 

Attaching this toxic rider to a must-pass defense appropriations bill is—it‘s unacceptable and unpalatable to many of the senators and congressmen on the Hill. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  No doubt about it, Lydia.  Thanks for being with us. 

Greatly appreciate it.

WEISS:  Sure thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, friends, let me follow up very quickly on what has been going on here.

And, of course, Ted Stevens was the guy that put the bridge to nowhere in the budget earlier this year.  That‘s getting second life.  We are going to stay on top of that one. 

But, in this case, I just—and it doesn‘t matter whether it‘s a Republican doing it or a Democrat doing it.  To attach such a controversial bill, a bill I support—I support drilling in Alaska—but to attach this controversial, as Lydia said, toxic, politically toxic rider to funding our troops in Baghdad, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, across the world, it‘s unforgivable. 

Call your senator today, 202-224-3121, and tell them to fight this with all the energy they have. 

Hey, don‘t go away.  We have got more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Was it lewd and disorderly conduct or just boys being boys?

Four Minnesota Vikings players are facing misdemeanor charges stemming from a wild sex cruise.  But are the players getting off too easily?

With me now to talk about the charges are former prosecutor and Minneapolis radio talk show host Jack Rice, and also L.A. sports radio show host J.T. “The Brick.” 

Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.

Mike, the Vikings are about as hot as you can be.  Mike Tice, everybody thought he was going to be fired six weeks ago.  Now the guy—they keep winning, he is going to get into the playoffs. 

Do people in Minneapolis think that the Vikings got off too easily here or that they—the charges should have been tougher, Jack? 

JACK RICE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Oh, yes, certainly. 

When you look at this—this is the interesting part of this case. 

When you look at October, I think a lot of people showed a lot of outrage.  And we saw that at that point.  But we were 2-5 then.  And what was fascinating about this, to me, is as the season has progressed, we have won six games straight now.  Now we are 8-5 and all of a sudden, it‘s not that big a deal.  Now, that‘s the fascinating part of this story.

SCARBOROUGH:  So fascinating.  I remember when Alabama almost fired their coach mid-season because of sexual harassment charges.  The board kept him on, said, but we will tell you what.  He better win at least 11 games this year. 

Talk about situational ethics. 

J.T. “The Brick,” you say this is no big deal.

J.T. “THE BRICK,” RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, it is a big deal, Joe, for the fact that people care about lewd behavior.  They want to know if their favorite athlete is on a boat with strippers and they‘re flying in hookers. 

Believe me, my listeners want to know this.  But, on the show before, I have covered Kobe Bryant with you and his sex violation, which he got off on.  And other athletes have killed people in DUIs in the past and domestic violence.  Those are the big stories that matter. 

These athletes won‘t go to jail.  The big issue now is, will the owner of the Vikings, Zygi Wilf, do the right thing and suspend these players in a playoff race, or is he going to let due process take its time and wait for this to play out in the off-season?  But, either way, the Vikings are on a big-time roll here.  And that‘s all the Vikings fans care about.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Jack, talking about situational ethics, what do you think?  Maybe a three-month suspension starting the day after the season is over? 

RICE:  Absolutely. 

We are looking at January before the first appearance on this case.  Zygi Wilf has already pulled back.  There is only one guy who is starting right now, Bryant McKinnie.  And, realistically, they‘re going to hold off until this season is over.  They are 8-5.  And shall I say it again?  They are 8-5. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Eight and five, after being like 2-5.

So, J.T., what kind of example does this leave for kids that are big sports fans?  Do they learn, if you are fast enough, if you are strong enough, that you are going to be able to beat the rap? 

J.T.:  Yes.  They know if—athletes, movie stars, politicians, Joe, they have the best attorneys in the world and they‘re going to get off, because they cut deals.  They never get the maximum fine. 

But, Joe, one other story I want you to keep an eye on here, Daunte Culpepper is a superstar quarterback in this league.  And he is saying no way did he touch a woman and did a woman touch him on that boat.  And he deserves to fight for his reputation, because I think that is the big story left.

Daunte Culpepper is fighting for his legacy with the Minnesota Vikings.  He has a serious knee injury.  And he‘s going to be a great player in this league for years to come.  But will he have a reputation that he can go to another city and build his career again or stay with the Vikings?

SCARBOROUGH:  Good question.

I know this, though.  The Vikings are not in a hurry for him to get back and play, because they have been doing pretty well without him. 

Thanks, Jack Rice. 

And, thanks, J.T. “The Brick,” as always.

Greatly appreciate you being with us. 

We will be right back in a second. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now it‘s time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion. 

And we have talked about the great success of the elections in Iraq, a success made possible, of course, by U.S. troops.  Some of those troops arrived home in at Atlanta‘s Hartsfield Airport for Operation R&R and were greeted with a standing ovation.  And the Georgia USO also brought along home phone cards you donated, and provided much holiday cheer. 

If you would like to donate to Operation Phone Home, there is still time.  And that‘s how you do it on the screen, Joe.MSNBC.com.

“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts now. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

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